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Friday
Oct092009

Figwort Weevils

The day before yesterday I noticed two small dark lumps on a stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). At first I thought they were some sort of seeds that had fallen off nearby trees, but then I saw that had an interesting texture so I took a closer look.  Then I saw that they had legs. so I took some photos. 

That evening, back at home, I was able to identify them as Cionus tuberculosus (= Cionus tuberculatus), the figwort weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).  Then I looked up figwort, thinking it was a plant I hadn't come across before, but when I saw a picture I immediately recognized it as something I had seen beside the large lake a couple of weeks ago.  The following morning I went back up to the lake and was able to take this photo:

What's more, these plants, which were 200 metres from the nettles where I had first see the figwort weevils, were also infested with the very same weevils:

Some people think that these look like little elephants:

Note the rounded bumps on the edge of the leaf: these are characteristic of water figwort (Scrophularia auriculata = Scrophularia aquatica); the other common UK species of figwort, woodland figwort (Scrophularia nodosa)  has serrated edges to its leaves.

Photos taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2009-10-08 (the first) and 2009-10-09 (the rest).

Reader Comments (2)

They destroyed my fuchias. Figworts must be destroyed.
May 16 | Unregistered CommenterBill
I have a figwort plant in the garden. In 2014 it grew to over 8.5 feet. First noticed little 'slugs' that went on to develop into the Weevils. One the large leaves were destroyed the insect vanished and the plant later sprouted new growths of leaves. Sad to say that I have just one surviving picture due to hard drive cock-up but will repeat the picture sequence this year 2015.
April 30 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Hansler

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